Marais (märāˈ) [key] [Fr., = swamp], old quarter of Paris, on the right bank of the Seine. Until the 18th cent. it was the most aristocratic section of Paris. The Hôtel des Tournelles, long the residence of the kings of France (Henry II was killed in its court during a joust), was replaced with the Place des Vosges. The Marais park, surrounded by uniform houses in pink brick and gray slate, remains a perfect ensemble of 17th-century architecture. Nearby is the Carnavalet, once the home of Mme de Sévigné, which now houses the municipal museum of Paris. During the 19th cent. it became a ghetto area for Jewish refugees from E Europe. Since 1969 a major restoration program has been underway, including the renovation of several museums, mansions, and hotels, such as the 17th. cent. Hotel Sully.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.